Hidden Gun bill clears legislature in Virginia Delegates Militia and Police Committee. http://www.dailyprogress.com/servle...icArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173354661152&path= Hidden weapon bill clears panel By Bob Gibson / email@example.com | 978-7243 February 19, 2008 RICHMOND - A bill to allow people with a concealed weapons permit to bring a hidden handgun into a restaurant if they do not drink won approval of a House of Delegates committee Monday. Welcome to the wild, wild West, said Del. James M. Scott, D-Merrifield, after he was one of five delegates on the Militia and Police Committee to oppose the bill unsuccessfully. The panel approved it on a 16-5 vote. Weve bested Texas. Weve bested Alaska, in terms of loosening the restrictions on guns in restaurants that serve alcohol, Scott said of the so-called guns in bars bill that is similar to measures that had passed the House in previous years only to die in the Virginia Senate. Sen. Emmett W. Hanger, R-Mount Solon, is sponsoring the measure, sought for years by gun-rights advocates. It passed the Senate by a 24-15 vote last Tuesday. This is a common-sense measure, said Hanger, whose Shenandoah Valley district includes Greene County and portions of western Albemarle. These individuals can be trusted because they are typically people who obey the law [and] have gone through a process to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, Hanger said. Virginia has 150,000 residents who hold concealed-carry permits, gun-rights advocates said. The folks who have these permits are very scrupulous about following state law, said Del. Bill Janis, R-Short Pump, who supports the measure. This years bill differs from past measures in that it has a Senate amendment stipulating that a person who carries of concealed handgun onto the premises of such a restaurant or club shall inform a designated employee of the restaurant or club that he is carrying a concealed handgun. The Senate also made it a Class 2 misdemeanor for the gun carrier to consume alcohol and a Class 1 misdemeanor to become intoxicated while carrying a concealed handgun. Under current state law, a gun owner can carry a weapon into a restaurant serving alcohol if the handgun is not concealed and can drink until the restaurant cuts him off. Any restaurant owner has a right to post a sign saying no one may enter with a gun, and the bill does not change that right. The bill this year is likely to pass the House again and end up on the desk of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Richmond Democrat whose administration signaled its opposition. Curtis Coleburn, chief operating officer of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said the administration opposes Hangers bill. This is bad public safety policy, Coleburn said. He said police and ABC agents are safer when they are able to see who is armed in a restaurant or club. The committee Monday also overwhelmingly approved a Senate bill that would allow people who dont have a concealed weapons permit to transport handguns in a locked glove box or other interior compartment of a vehicle rather than carry it in plain view, as state law requires.